Letter: No higher property taxes

Dear Editor,

I’m writing this letter in response of the proposed property tax increase to fund the Douglas County Museum. To start, a little background on me. I was approached a few years ago by the Board of Trustees to work for the Museum when the original Director left. I agreed to fill in until a full time Director was hired. A salary was offered and I counter offered to work for free if I could spend my salary equivalent to spend towards the Museum. After a couple of interesting years I decided to leave. Prior to my leaving, upon my return from an injury, the Board and I proposed a letter for donation to cover the salary of the new Director. The duties described in the proposal were, in part, to raise membership to fund the Museum as well as raise monetary donations. They have failed to carry through on this through no fault of the new position. After thirty years membership has leveled off at around 300-400 members. This was confirmed to me by a couple of current Trustees. This is very similar to what it was when I left. For whatever reason, Douglas County citizens have voluntarily chosen not to become members of the Museum. With their proposed property tax increase the Museum Board is trying to mandate membership via raising a property tax increase. This is only the first of many increases that will come to you over the years if passed. If you can show me a property tax that has been consistently decreased I’d be glad to hear about it. This request for a property tax increase also opens the door for any failing nonprofit to attach themselves to your property tax increases in the future. Government taxes should be used for essential services, schools, safety, roads, etc. I’d also bet these will not be going down in the future also. In a recent article the Museum Board stated that this will not affect renters. Really? Historically it is known that landlords pass on rent increases to covers costs to support the profits margins they need to keep up properties. Also, stated in the paper that they had 207 voters sign the property tax increase referendum. This tells me they couldn’t even get all their members to sign on. I personally know of a number of remaining members who feel as I do. The bottom line is, how many voters say “my taxes are too high”? Well this is the time to stand for what you say. I hope that is NO to higher property taxes.

Danny Matthews
Former Director of the Douglas County Museum, resident of Tuscola